Vol. 4 2011 – Water Savings In Green Healthcare Design
Hygiene, sanitation, and health are the top considerations during the various processes and stages of healthcare designs. However, with growing concerns to support sustainability, many healthcare designers have also started to incorporate green or environmentally friendly practices and products into their building design.
Green hospitals and medical facilities appeal to both healthcare professionals and institutions. They not only offer the potential to safeguard the environment, but also have the potential to promote health and faster healing time. This results in shorter stays and better turnaround for patients admitted into green healthcare facilities.
Product Specification and Efficient Water Use
It is essential that efficient practices are considered prior to new construction or major renovations. As healthcare facilities operate 24 hours a day, 365 days per year, the adoption of efficient water management practices can significantly impact our depleting natural water supply.
In order to manage water consumption, for example, it is important to track its usage and performance. Low flow faucets offer a simple solution to reduce water consumption, while promoting the reduction of germ transmission and hygiene. With industry recognition of the potential savings by using less water, high-efficient toilets and urinals, dual-flush flush valves, and sensor operated flushometers are popular specification choices.
Above right: Sloan BASYS Electronic Faucet
Many manufacturers have integrated green features into their product lines. The specification and proper installation of products that contain recycled materials or that have Cradle to Cradle certification can make a difference between a sustainable and non-sustainable design. Installing durable products and/or products that were created from recycled content promotes landfill reduction. By specifying a high-efficient toilet that uses 1.6 GPF, or a sensor-activated flush meters that control the water used during peak times, can help achieve overall LEED certification.
Above left: Acorn Meridian Wash Basin. Acorn Engineering Co. uses 80% recycled stainless steel, which after use can be reclaimed and again recycled.
Many things can contribute to the design of a high-performance healthcare facility. Specifying environmentally friendly plumbing equipment, and taking advantage of technology that promotes interoperability between all the stakeholders involved, is just one strategy that designers are utilizing.
It is important to educate yourself about green practices. “Greenifying” building design, including hospitals and medical facilities, is now a part of our society’s norm. Take advantage of these new plumbing design standards, and in turn, make healthy and revolutionary construction choices.
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